Different soils have different properties that may impact what can grow in them, and also how things grow in them.
In this short guide, we outline what might grow well in acidic soil, along with other relevant considerations.
Summary – What Grows Well In Acidic Soil
The main thing to be aware of with acidic soil is the pH
There’s certain materials and amendments that can be added to acidic soil to change the pH, or the fertility, as well as other traits of the soil
The soil pH is only one factor in determining what you can and can’t grow in that soil (or, how effectively plant life might grow in a specific soil type)
Other factors to consider for growing in different soils include the general soil fertility, and the local conditions and variables such as weather and climate, as just a few major examples
Overall, each square area of soil on an individual plot of land potentially has it’s own unique factors and variables to consider that will impact soil production. And, the same can be said for the soil in the different geographic locations around the world
All acidic soils may have general soil production principles that apply to them, but, may also have unique local variables impacting soil production as well
Read more in this guide about the main considerations for growing different types of plants in different types of soils, conditions, and geographic locations
Profile Of Acidic Soil – Traits, Characteristics, & Features
Acidic soil may have these general features, traits, and characteristics:
Have a pH under 7, with extremely acidic soils have a pH closer to 3.5
Peat soil is usually acidic or contains acidic water, and loam can sometimes can be slightly acidic
Real Examples Of Acidic Soil, & Where It Might Be Found
In terms of the different soil orders, an example of two soils that might be acidic might be Spodosols and Ultisols
You can see where Spodosols and Ultisols and other soil orders might be found worldwide, and in specific countries, in this guide.
Working With, Amending & Improving Acidic Soil
Adding To Acidic Soil
Acidic soils can be amended/balanced to come back to neutral, or become more alkaline, with the additions of ash or lime.
Soil can be made more acidic with the addition of acidic fruit compost scraps, or elemental sulfur, or peat moss.
Levels Of Acidity, & Testing Soil
Note that there are differing levels of acidic soil.
Some plants for example may grow in slightly acidic soil (6 to 6.5), whilst some might like more acidic soil.
So, pH range does matter.
You can test pH with a simple pH testing kit you can buy online or at the local gardening or home/outdoors store.
You can also get soil professionally tested.
More Resources On Working With Acidic Soils
Read more about working with and improving acidic soil at:
Types Of Soil (provident-living-today.com)
75 Acid Loving Plants (annsentitledlife.com)
13 Plants That Grow Well In Acidic Soil (thespruce.com)
Alkaline Soil, & Plants That Don’t Mind Alkalinity (thespruce.com)
A Note On Soil Types, & What Ultimately Impacts How Things Grow
Before we look at what grows well in acidic soil, it’s important to note that all soils have a slightly different composition in each geographic location – you might get a more acidic soil in one location, but in another location you might get a less acidic soil, and this can change it’s characteristics
There are also different external factors acting upon the soil in each geographic area. Climate and weather are a major example of this
Additionally, there are ultimately a range of physical, chemical and biological factors that determine how well something grows in a particular spot or under particular conditions.
Soil fertility is a major factor tied to soil’s physical, chemical and biological traits, that can impact soil productivity and yield. Some soils have high natural fertility, but it’s also possible to modify or increase the fertility of some soils
This is just a guide on acidic soils in general, without going into extreme depth about all these other factors (factors like soil fertility, soil health, soil quality, the impact of adding fertilizers and pesticides, bringing in commercial topsoil, the impact of different tilling practices, and so on).
To assess the soil in an individual location, it can help to become aware of factors like:
– What the soil is, and what is the best way to manage it
– The climate in that location (temperature, rainfall etc.) and the growing seasons (for example – the US has different planting zones),
– The plants or things you want to grow and the conditions they need
This is of course just basic information – it’s important to research beyond these things for each individual situation.
These guides provide some basic information on figuring out what might grow well in different soils, conditions and locations:
All The Factors That Affect The Growth Of Plants
How To Know What Grows In Your Soil Or Garden
How To Know What Grows In Your Geographic Area Or Climate Zone
I Can’t Grow Anything In My Soil – What Do I Do?
Below is a collection of generalized lists of things that may grow well in acidic soil.
It’s important that you don’t rely solely on these lists though – obviously you should do your own additional research, and make your own independent decisions.
Plants & Flowers That Grow Well In Acidic Soil
Bunchberry Native Ground Cover
Azaleas and Rhododendrons
Heath & Heather
Colorado Blue Spruce
Read a longer list of acid soil loving plants at
Acid Loving Plants (morningchores.com)
75 Acid Loving Plants (annsentitledlife.com)
Vegetables & Crops That Can Be Grown In Acidic Soil
Read more about vegetables that can grow in acidic soils at offthegridnews.com
Fruits & Berries That Grow Well In Acidic Soil
Blueberries thrive in types of soils of 4.5 – 5.0 pH.
Read more about fruits that can grow in acidic soils at offthegridnews.com
Trees & Shrubs That Grow Well In Acidic Soil